Longing for Home

Free Longing for Home by Kathryn Springer

Book: Longing for Home by Kathryn Springer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kathryn Springer
over and beg.
    There were plump pieces of chicken, threaded on long wooden skewers, cooked in a light sauce, the distinct tang of cranberries complimented by a mysterious sweetness. Simple. Delicious. And something one of his chefs would have served with pride.
    If Kate had the ability to create something like that, why was the café’s menu crowded with predictable but unimaginative offerings like hamburgers and meat loaf with mashed potatoes?
    Alex couldn’t figure it out.
    He couldn’t figure her out.
    A sudden commotion snagged Alex’s attention.
    Right before Kate joined the other women, she grabbed Faye McAllister’s hand. Faye resisted for a moment, her cheeks turning as pink as the Keds on her feet, before letting herself be pulled into the circle.
    “Everyone gather around,” a gray-haired woman holding a pink cane bellowed. “The bride is going to toss the bouquet now!”
    Abby looked at Kate, smiled and jerked her chin to the right. As soon as her back was turned, Kate inched to the left.
    “Three. Two. One…”
    The guests let out a loud cheer as Abby released the bouquet in a high arch, ribbons streaming like the tail of comet.
    All the women leaped toward the bouquet as if they’d been launched out of a catapult.
    Kate lifted her arms and the bouquet sailed right between them. She managed to grab hold of one of the streamers…and it unraveled as it continued on its course.
    Straight toward Alex—who had a split second to decide if he wanted to catch the bouquet or wear it.
    He caught it.
    A chorus of cheers erupted from the onlookers.
    “Look! A guy caught it!” A teenage girl pointed at him.
    “He caught Kate, too!” another one giggled.
    Alex realized that he was holding on to the bouquet…and Kate was still holding on to the streamer.
    “Someone get a ladder for Kate next time,” a man standing next to Alex chuckled.
    “Does this mean they’re both going to get married?”
    “Does this mean they’re going to marry each other?”
    They were drawing a larger crowd than the wedding cake, all pressing for a closer look. Pressing him and Kate together.
    “Why did you catch it?” Kate grumbled under her breath.
    “Because it went over your head,” Alex reminded her in a low voice. “Why didn’t you let go?”
    The photographer waded through the crowd with his camera. “Since both of you caught it, you can pose for Abby’s photo album together.”
    “You know what they say.” Kate dropped the streamer as if it were a fuse someone had just lit. “Possession is nine tenths of the law!”
    She aimed a sunny smile at Alex before she danced away.
    “Don’t forget to say cheese!”
    Two hours later, the guests had left and the taillights of Quinn’s truck disappeared around a corner. The last vehicle parked in the driveway was a black Thunderbird.
    Alex tracked Kate to the kitchen. A dishtowel was knotted around her trim waist, the ballet slippers at her feet by the sink.
    She was humming one of the songs that Zoey Decker had sung during the ceremony. Something about love and commitment and a whole lot of other things Alex had stopped believing in about the same time he stopped believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
    Kate did a little two-step to the side as she reached for another dish.
    “Go home, Kate.”
    The slender shoulders tensed. Relaxed. She turned to face him, iridescent bubbles clinging to both hands. “I think that sounded like an order.”
    “You think?” Alex leaned a shoulder against the doorjamb. “Then I must have not done it right.”
    A hint of a smile touched Kate’s lips. How could she look as fresh as one of the daisies in Abby’s bouquet after being on her feet since five o’clock?
    “I’m almost finished.”
    “Go home,” he repeated softly. “I’ve got a cleanup crew coming in tomorrow.”
    “I should remind you, that right now you’re in the kitchen, which is my jurisdiction.”
    “Not quite.” Alex looked down at the strip of wood

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